Thailand is well known for a lot of things. Rich history and culture, great tourist attractions and food and affordable souvenir items.
Apart from cheap clothes that visitors can buy from night markets, the country is also a source of beautiful and low-cost gemstones. Bangkok is where tourists can find many shops that sell different kinds of jewelry adorned with previous stones.
Chanthaburi is the specific place to visit. A small city with a population of 50,000, Chanthaburi is where colored gemstones are processed and traded. Unaware to some of you, about 80 percent of the world’s supply of ruby and sapphire go through this place.
This city is home to ruby and sapphire mines and enjoyed a progressive mining business in the 1960’s and 70’s. But while mining has stopped there, gem factories continued to exist providing new methods of heating gemstones to enhance their clarity and color. Eventually, traders from the different parts of the world started to have their precious gems processed in Chanthaburi. Families run businesses here that specialize in grading, cutting and polishing of gemstones.
If you wish to visit the old gemstone market in this place, tell your taxi driver to bring to “talad ploy.” Business is done from Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Don’t expect to see shops here displaying their wares as what you’ll see instead are desks and chairs outside of the trading offices. Gems are normally sold here through brokers so customers need to use a signboard where they write the names, size and weight of gemstones they’re looking for.
There’s also a new gems market near the old one. It’s situated in a modern and air conditioned building with an open trading floor and private trading rooms. It also features a lab.
Whether you want to buy some precious gems or simply want to tour around, Chanthaburi is worth a visit.
Photo via siamtourist.blogspot.com
About the author:
Teresa is a freelance blogger and mom of two who loves to travel with her family.